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Twice caught vineyard labour contractor penalised $25,000 for employment failures

A vineyard labour contractor has been penalised $25,000 by the ERA after a labour inspector found they failed to meet their obligation to keep employment records for a second time.

This penalty follows on from an earlier determination by the Employment Relations Authority (ERA) on 18 November 2015, where KRSVP Limited was ordered to pay $7,500 for failing to provide employees with a written individual employment agreement, or time or wage records.

“Keeping employment records is important for proving employees are being provided with all their entitlements, such as the minimum wage,” says Labour Inspectorate regional manager Kevin Finnegan.

“Following on from the initial ERA determination KRSVP Limited would’ve been well aware of their obligations, so it’s extraordinarily disappointing to have to take them to the ERA a second time.

“It seems to suggest some vineyard owners aren’t seeking any assurance from their contractors, even from an employer such as KRSVP whose poor compliance had already been exposed.

“Without seeking such assurances vineyard owners won’t know whether those picking and pruning their vines are receiving their entitlements, putting the reputation of the industry at risk.”

The Labour Inspectorate first requested the employment records of vineyard labour contractor KRSVP Limited on 20 July 2016.

Despite numerous attempts to contact KRSVP Limited and its sole director and shareholder Sanjhe Prasad, it took seven months for Mr Prasad to provide what turned out to be wholly inadequate wage and time records that did not comply with the law.

The ERA also found in their determination that the employment agreements given to the workers by Mr Prasad failed to give any meaningful description of the work to be carried out, adding to the raft of breaches committed by Mr Prasad in relation to his duties as an employer.

In addition to the penalty, KRSVP Limited will be on an 18 month stand down period from recruiting migrant labour.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment encourages anyone concerned about their employment situation, or the situation of someone they know, to call its contact centre on 0800 20 90 20, where their concerns will be handled in a safe environment.